Up and Over, Down and Out

Reprinted from PN May 2001
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My aunt lives in a small (4,000 people) community near a large metropolitan area in the Midwest. The church she has attended all her life is built the old-fashioned way, with several steps to an entryway safely above snow level.

Some members of the aging congregation are no longer able to negotiate the steps—or do so with great difficulty. And this barrier definitely hinders wheelchair users who may attend services as guests.

The problem is, the little church cannot afford permanent ramps. So a special committee is considering the portable version, which they can put in place when needed and store when not.

Acquiring portable ramps is a viable solution for many businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to provide access on a temporary basis.

Several companies manufacture portable ramps especially for wheelchairs or that are suitable for such use. The following firms (in alphabetical order) responded to PN's request for information on their products. Ramp manufacturers (including several that did not send us information) are listed at the end of the article.

Advanced Mobility Inc. (AMI) of Van Nuys, Calif., offers telescopic portable ramps, available directly to consumers or through distributors. The ramps weigh only 22 lb per pair, extend from five to eight feet, support 500 lb, can be stored in a 4- x 10- x 65-inch space, and cost $275 per pair (plus shipping, if applicable).

American Ramp Systems (Boston) sells through distributors only. The company produces portable and permanent modular ramps.

In Chico, Calif., Diestco Mfg. Co. offers more than 50 accessories for wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Diestco's EZ Edge threshold ramps are made from solid rubber. Each reportedly can be easily customized to fit around doorjambs and still retain a 1:12 slope ratio. They're available for threshold heights of 2.25 inches or less.

With more than 140 employees worldwide, Guldmann, Inc. (Tampa), makes Stepless wheelchair ramps, which are available in a wide range of sizes and types. Guldmann offers portable or permanent ramps, available in threshold, telescopic, and suitcase styles. Consumers may purchase directly from the company or through distributors.

Handi-Ramp (Mundelein, Ill.) provides a full line of portable and permanent ramp systems: threshold, suitcase, simple single-folding, Handi-Traks, and curb (nonfolding). The portable products fall into two categories: mobility related (easily moved for immediate and/or temporary applications) and modular (when the rise is greater than a portable ramp can service). The mobility-related products' maximum length is 12 feet. Typical rise is less than 20 inches. Depending on the end user's needs and location, the products are available directly from the company or through distributors.

Founded in 1983, Homecare Products, Inc. (Kent, Wash.), is committed to helping maximize independence by offering portable threshold, roll-up, telescopic, and suitcase ramps. These are available through distributors. The EZ-ACCESS TRIFOLD ramps come in several sizes, ranging from five feet to a ten-foot multipurpose version.

Portable Entry Systems produces threshold, roll-up, telescopic, suitcase, and curb ramps.

Operating for more than ten years, Portable Entry Systems (Camden, Mich.) specializes in solutions for all entry problems, from applications at a U.S. Naval base to boats, buses, and trains. Their product line includes portable and permanent ramps. The portable types are threshold, roll-up, telescopic, suitcase, and curb.

Prairie View Industries (PVI), Inc., of Fairbury, Neb., takes pride in being the original designer and manufacturer of the multifold wheelchair ramp. The company has a full line of access ramps, including threshold, single- and multifold, van, and modular systems (designed to meet ADA recommendations). The ramps are aluminum with high-traction tape on the surface. The multifold is available in five-, seven-, eight-, and ten-foot lengths and is 30 inches wide unfolded. Weight capacity is 600 pounds. Custom ramps are available.

Use any type of portable ramp carefully and with assistance. Keep in mind the steepness or degree of angle in which you?re placing the ramps. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires one foot of ramp for every inch of rise. For example, if you have an 11-inch-high step, you should use a ramp that is 11 feet long.

People often place portable ramps on rises much greater than 11 inches. Use care when exceeding this degree of angle. Be sure the ramp's top lip is stable and overlaps sufficiently. And exercise extreme caution with two-piece, telescoping, channel-style ramps.

Ramp Manufacturers

Advanced Mobility Inc. 7720 North Sepulveda Van Nuys, CA 91405 (818) 780-1788 / 780-1240 (fax)

Alumiramp, Inc. 855 Chicago Road Quincy, MI 49082 (800) 800-3864 / (517) 639-8777 / 639-4314 (fax) /

American Ramp Systems 202 West First Street S. Boston, MA 02127 (800) 649-5215 / (617) 268-3701 (fax) /

Diestco Mfg. Co. P.O. Box 6504 Chico, CA 95927 (800) 795-2392 / (530) 893-2635 (fax)

Guldmann Inc. 6712 Benjamin Road, Suite 800 Tampa, FL 33634 (800) 664-8834 / (813) 880-0619 / 880-9558 (fax) /

Handi-Ramp 1414 Armour Boulevard Mundelein, IL 60060 (800) 876-RAMP (7267) / (847) 816-7525 / 816-7689 (fax) /

HIG's Aluminum Products 2917 Anthony Lane Minneapolis, MN 55418 (800) 852-2552 / (612) 788-1183 / 788-1926 (fax) /

Homecare Products, Inc. 15824 SE 296th Street Kent, WA 98042-4549 (800) 451-1903 / 630-2350 (fax) /

Portable Entry Systems 334 East Bell Street Camden, MI 49232 (517) 368-5583 / 368-5109 (fax)

Prairie View Industries, Inc. P.O. Box 575 Fairbury, NE 68352 (800) 554-RAMP / (402) 729-4055 / 729-4058 (fax) /

Travel Ramp Inc. P.O. Box 2015 Alachua, FL 32616 (888) 661-7267 / (904) 462-5267 / 462-7744 (fax)

Vartanian Industries P.O. Box 636 Broadheadsville, PA 18322 (570) 992-5700 / 992-3442 (fax)

Wheelchair Carrier, Inc. 726 Farnsworth Road Waterville, OH 43566 (800) 541-3213 / (419) 878-8511 / 878-9438 (fax)

If we missed your company, please send information so we may include it in a future issue. Neither PVA nor PN/Paraplegia News endorses the ramps or companies profiled in this article. Readers should carefully evaluate companies and their products before making any purchases.

Ann Santos is PN editorial coordinator. Annie Marcos and Aaron Wood, editorial assistants, also contributed to this article.


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